Giving God Praise Through Creation, with Francis of Assisi: Day 20 of the Pray-May Challenge

It’s the long weekend of May, a major Canadian holiday. Traditionally, May-long has marked the weekend for planting gardens. Spring is here to stay, and we are so thankful.

Watching the world wake up after the deep winter is a wonder. To hear creation’s song, lifted in joy to its Creator, is a privilege for us. We must take the opportunity, regularly, to listen to this song of creation, for in it we not only witness our Creator’s praise, we also receive his continued call to care for his creation, so that their song continues and flourishes.

On day 4 of the Pray-May Challenge, I invited you to pray the Lorica of St. Patrick, a prayer of protection. Today, would you join me in praying along with St. Francis of Assisi?

St. Francis is often depicted in creational settings, with birds and animals around him. His care for all of creation’s praise provides a powerful vision for our ecological calling today.

Francis, famous for his absolute dedication to sharing the good news of Jesus everywhere he went, wrote a beautiful prayer called a Canticle. In this Canticle, we are drawn to see how aspects of God’s creation give praise to God, by simply being what they were created to be.

Brother Sun, Wind and Fire, along with Sister Moon, Water, Earth and Death, all give praise to God–by praying this prayer, we, too, are called into that praise.

Today’s challenge is simple: Go outside and pray this prayer. And as you do, bear witness to how creation gives praise to God.

Canticle of Creation, St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

Most high, almighty, good Lord
to you belong praise and glory and honour

and every blessing.

To you along do they belong, O Most High

for no one is worthy to pronounce your name.

Praise to you, Lord, through all your creatures,
and especially through our noble Brother Sun,
through whom we have daylight and illumination
for he is beautiful and radiant and dazzling

and he reveals to us something of yourself.

Praise to you, Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars
which you have set in the heavens,

bright and precious and beautiful.

Praise to you, Lord, through Brother Wind
and air and clouds and stillness and every kind of weather

by which you uphold creation.

Praise to you, Lord, through Sister Water

who is very useful and humble and precious and pure.

Praise to you, Lord, through Brother Fire
through whom you light up the darkness

for he is beautiful and cheery and vigorous and mighty.

Praise to you, Lord, for Sister Earth, our mother
who feeds us and governs us

and produces all kinds of fruits and colourful flowers and herbs.

Praise to you, Lord, for all who forgive each other through your love,
and who endure illness and tribulation.
Blessed are they who endure it peaceably

for you will honour them, O Most High.

Praise to you, Lord, for our Sister Death
for no living being can escape from her.
Wretched are they who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are they who are found doing your will
for the second death will not harm them.
Praise and bless my Lord and give thanks to him

and serve him with great humility.

(Translated by Mary Low and taken from Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation, by Sam Hamilton-Poore, page 132.)

These words have inspired countless generations to praise, but perhaps there were none so inspired as the musical rendition gifted to us by William Draper in 1919, who took Francis’ prayer and composed the famous hymn All Creatures of our God and King. To finish today, enjoy this video made by All Sons & Daughters, singing this song back in Assisi.

May the Lord of creation bless you today, tuning your ears to creation’s praise, for his glory. 

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